Statement from Dr. Margo Greenwood and Dr. Michael J. Strong: CIHR celebrates International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Press Release

August 9 marks the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This global event aims to promote and protect the rights of the world’s Indigenous population. It celebrates the achievements and contributions of Indigenous Peoples towards improving rights, health, and pandemic responses.

This year’s theme is “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge”. Indigenous women play a crucial role in the preservation and transmission of traditional ancestral knowledge. Indigenous women defend their lands and territories and advocate for Indigenous Peoples’ collective rights worldwide. Dr. Margo Greenwood, Interim Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, and Dr. Mike Strong, President of CIHR, take this opportunity to acknowledge and hold up CIHR’s Indigenous partnerships and the Indigenous women researchers who work to improve and promote the health of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in Canada and Indigenous Peoples globally.

Since 2017, CIHR has collaborated with the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC), and the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) on mutual health research priorities for Indigenous Peoples in these countries. At the 2021 CIHR-IIPH Indigenous Peoples and COVID-19 Virtual Knowledge Mobilization Forum, participants focused on addressing COVID-19 knowledge mobilization, including barriers to the sharing of knowledge. It is clear that Indigenous leadership in prevention and management, and culturally responsive, trauma-informed public health systems are critical to addressing COVID-19 interventions and knowledge sharing.  In the colonial context, we also recognize the importance and value of revitalizing Indigenous ways of knowing and being regarding medicine, viruses, healing, and wellness.

CIHR is committed, through its Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, and international partnerships with Indigenous Peoples, to improve the health and well-being of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples and Indigenous Peoples internationally.

We encourage you to observe this day by deepening your understanding of Indigenous health, rights, and pandemic responses. In order to advance equitable and sustainable health systems worldwide, we need to learn from Indigenous Peoples, reflect on their global achievements and contributions, while recognizing their inherent right to self-determination and leadership over their health and well-being.

Miigwetch, Marci, Nakummek, Merci, Thank you

Margo Greenwood, O.C. PhD
Interim Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health

Michael J. Strong, MD, FRCPC, FAAN, FCAHS
President, CIHR

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